Newman (D-Fullerton) piles up five bills - and each of them is designed “to reflect the kind of pragmatic policy [he] came to office to create.”

Senator Newman introduces legislation to protect election workers’ privacy

State Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) introduced legislation today to reduce acts of harassment towards election workers. SB 1131 will provide protection and peace of mind to election workers in California by providing them with the option of keeping their home addresses confidential.

“The assurance of free and fair elections, unencumbered by outside pressures, is essential to the maintenance of a pluralistic, ‘small-d’ democratic society,” said Senator Newman. “In the face of the kinds of aggressive and abusive behavior directed at election workers in recent years, SB 1131 is a much-needed measure that will protect these dedicated and diligent public servants charged with administering California’s elections and safeguarding our most fundamental democratic processes.”

In recent years, election workers have been subject to “doxing” and increasing harassment as the result of their names, photographs and addresses being posted online and on social media platforms.

“Election officials and their staff are democracy’s front line workers. Conducting secure elections now requires safeguarding election workers’ physical safety. This legislation will help protect California’s election workers from threats and harassment and provide an additional layer of election security,” said Kim Alexander, President and Founder of the California Voter Foundation, cosponsor of SB 1131.

Prior to and after the 2020 general election, violent threats and harassment of election workers reached alarming levels, an unnerving trend that has continued unabated into the present. A 2021 nationwide survey of election workers found that as many as 1 in 3 feel unsafe as a result of their job and that nearly 1 in 6 listed threats to their lives as a job-related concern.

“Election officials should not have to fear for their safety or the safety of their families while doing their job. California must protect them as they protect our elections. Passing this bill would make the state a national leader in safeguarding election officials and keeping our democracy fair, free, and open to all,” said Gowri Ramachandran, Senior Counsel in the Democracy program at the Brennan Center for Justice, cosponsor of SB 1131.

To offset the growing wave of harassment and violent threats directed at election workers, SB 1131 will allow election workers to enroll in either of the state’s existing address protection programs— the Secretary of State’s Safe at Home program or the state’s address confidentiality program for public officials. Safe at Home, designed to protect survivors of domestic violence and those who work at reproductive healthcare facilities, redirects the mail of those enrolled in the program to a different mailing address. Alternatively, election workers may enroll in a program that allows state and local agencies to respond to public records requests without disclosing the address of an election worker.

To reduce the likelihood that poll workers may be subject to doxing and targeting, SB 1131 also would eliminate the current statutory requirement for posting the names of poll workers at polling places, but still would require the responsible election official to post the political party preferences of those working at a particular polling place.

This article was released by the Office of Senator Josh Newman.

1 Comment

  1. I doubt this is on the up & up.

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